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How does expungement work in Colorado?

Posted on June 4, 2021

An arrest record follows a person around for years. Many companies require a disclosure of any criminal arrests and convictions before hiring new employees. A background check may wind up keeping a person from advancing.

Getting a record expunged may help. A person may petition the court to erase all evidence of a criminal record, making it as if it never happened. However, there is a narrow scope of infractions that the court deems eligible for expungement.

Crimes eligible for expungement

Under Colorado law, only a few categories of convictions are eligible for expungement. A court may expunge non-violent juvenile crimes such as theft or drug-related crimes. Underage drinking and driving convictions are also eligible, as are arrests made due to mistaken identity. A background check will show all arrests, even those that did not result in convictions. A person may petition the court for expungement relating to these as well.

Timeframe for expungement

A person opting for expungement must file a petition within the specified timeframe. For juvenile crimes, a person who finishes his or her sentence may have to wait up to five years before becoming eligible to file for expungement. Those convicted for underage drinking and driving may petition as soon as they turn 21 years old. For arrests attributed to mistaken identity, the arresting agency should file a petition for expungement within three months of the arrest.

Expungement may help get the fresh start a person needs. When the circumstances fit the statutory guidelines, having a record erased may close the book on mistakes of the past.